Source: Manila Bulletin, 06 December 2011

MANILA, Philippines — British firms have expressed keen interest in the government’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects as they sought clarification on delays in the implementing rules and regulations and bidding of projects.

This was raised by British businessmen who accompanied the visit of UK Minister of State Jeremy Brown, who is in the country for the second time around on hopes of further deepening relations between the two countries.

The visit enabled Browne to launch the UK infrastructure investment mission which aims to promote British expertise in infrastructure and PPP. He highlighted the UK’s extension PPP experience in transport, health and education sectors and also financial, legal and transaction service expertise.

During the investment briefing on the government’s PPP program, British firms raised the issue of the IRR which they said were not very clear and the delays in the projects’ implementation.

Government officials explained that the revised IRR on the Build-Operate-Transfer law, which is the basis of the PPP program, is expected to be published and made available by the first quarter of next year.

There are also sectoral specific guidelines on top of the general IRR on the BOT law.

For this year, the government is set to bid out only one PPP project – the Daang Hari road. More projects, however, at least nine are expected to be put on the auction block by next year.

Government agencies including representatives from the Department of Public Works and Highways, PPP Center, Department of Health, the Board of Investment and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority took turn in explaining the PPP program of the government to the British mission members.

Two successful PPP cases studies were also presented: the Manila Water Company and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX).

“It is important for the Philippines to deliver much needed infrastructure investments through clear and transparent processes,” said Brown.

“I am delighted that this infrastructure investment mission will help deliver on our commitment to support the Philippine develop in this area,” he said. He commended the Philippine commitment to improve transparency and reduce corruption.

UK is the largest investor in the Philippines for the last decade. Combined net foreign direct and net portfolio investments from 1999-2010, amounted to $12 billion rivaled only by Singapore with a much smaller $9- billion cumulative investments.